|Buda Castle, Hungary|
Author Michele Drier writes both mystery and paranormal romance. Her paranormal mystery series, SNAP: The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, is set in Hungary, and today Michele is here to tell us about that beautiful country. To learn more about Michele and her books, visit her website. -- AP
Hungary is missing and I’m wondering if the Kandeskys have anything to do with it.
Probably not. I have to confess that it’s most likely my haphazard filing system to blame.
Even though I’d like to think that the Kandesky family of vampires, have eerily used their powers to make all my Hungarian information disappear, I know they’re just characters in a series of novels.
Whatever the reason, I can’t find the books and five rolls of pictures that I took on a trip to Hungary. A cousin and I were traveling that summer when the Eastern Bloc was crumbling, and I wanted to see at least one of the countries before they joined the west. I was pumping for Bulgaria or Albania, but she was a little nervous, so we settled on Hungary. We’d take a hydrofoil down the Danube from Vienna to Budapest.
|Benedictine Abbey, Hungary|
Fate stuck a hand in when my cousin met a Hungarian at the inn we stayed at in the Vienna Woods. Peter had a sister in Budapest who’d be glad to put us up for a few days. So we headed off with his sister’s address for a Hungarian adventure, a little tricky since we didn’t speak Hungarian and Peter didn’t speak English. When the hydrofoil pulled up to the dock in Budapest, the first thing we saw was a 20-foot-tall Levis sign overlooking the river. The second thing was a Russian cruise ship.
It was an amazing time. Judi and her husband, Sandor, put us up in their absent son’s apartment in Buda (he was away on troop maneuvers) and they entertained us for days, even driving us to Judi’s mother’s house in Sopron. On the way back to Budapest, we listened to the Pink Floyd concert live from the Berlin Wall, with our hosts gleefully saying goodbye to the Soviets.
We also spent some time with Peter at his house in a village so small that milk and vegetables were delivered in a horse-drawn cart, and almost-full-grown storks were still in their nests on chimneys.
When I began writing SNAP: The World Unfolds, the book that became the start of the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, I had a hazy idea that the family originated somewhere in Eastern Europe, probably in the Carpathian Mountains. The more I wrote about this cultured, urbane, uber-rich family, the more I realized that they were Hungarian. This land that had been overrun so many times by invaders, but managed to thrive and survived to become the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was certainly where a vampire family began more than 500 years ago.
It’s a country with a rich heritage of many cultures, perfect for a family that needs to look both east and west in their business dealings and influence.
I haven’t stayed in touch with Peter and Judi and Sandor, and I’m sorry for that.
This Hungarian family gave their time and effort to make sure two traveling Americans saw and absorbed some of the best their country had to offer, and now I’m repaying them by settling a family of vampires there!
|Fisherman's Bastion, Hungary|
I don’t think they’d mind, though. The Kandeskys aren’t your average blood-suckers. They’re businesspeople who have cornered the market on the world’s celebrity journalism, with a print and broadcast empire called SNAP. They’re headquartered in Baron Stefan Kandesky’s castle in Hungary, and travel the world in private jets and limos, entertaining the cream of media, sports and aristocratic luminaries.
Where I’ve misplaced Hungary, though, stumps me. I really don’t think the Kandeskys made off with my pictures and books—I don’t think they’re unhappy that I’m telling their story. But a little bit of doubt set in when I couldn’t find any traces.
Before I finish Book Four of the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, Danube: A Tale of Murder, I guess I’d better clean my office. Maybe some night. I may catch one of the Kandeskys pilfering things.
Readers, have any of you travelled to Hungary? It looks like a great place for a vacation, doesn't it? -- AP